Episode 29, "Struggle of the Fool"
Synopsis: The Elrics brothers are brought to Fuhrer Bradley, who threatens to kill Winry if they refuse to cooperate. Edward calls Winry to check on her, and after the call, Greed appears and comments on their predictability. He leaves them a message for Ranfan that Ling wrote in Xingese. Roy updates Hawkeye and Armstrong. Alphonse delivers the message to Ranfan, who wants to get an automail arm. Edward fixes the damage done to the part of town he fought Scar in, and remembers he has to return Hawkeye's gun to her.
This is more of an exposition/reaction episode, so there's not a lot of action or revelations, but that didn't mean it was a bad episode. Characters passed along information to each other, we got a little bit of Edward's budding maturity, and some more scenes with Greed. There was even a flashback to Armstrong in the Ishbal war.
First, we see that Bradley has every intention of using Winry as an insurance policy in case the Elrics reveal what they know to the public. This is similar to him keeping Riza Hawkeye close to him. I enjoyed the scene in which Edward intends to give up his title and position, but is then forced to take it back when Winry's threatened. The blood on the watch was a nice little touch. Also, Mei managing to avoid Martel's fate was pretty amusing.
Another good scene with Bradley is the one with Greed on the roof. We switch back to Miyano's voice for a moment as Ling temporarily wrestles control away. Greed seems to be pretty amused by it all. The look on the Fuhrer's face was interesting, too. Clearly there's sort of a struggle for power in Ling's body, and it will take us to some interesting places later on. But, unfortunately, much later on.
Through the handling of things like Winry's confrontation with Scar, discovering that Envy caused the Ishbal conflict's breakout, and watching Ling's choice to embrace Greed, Edward has matured a bit. He even looks a bit different at this point. His body goes through more changes than it did in the first series, where we didn't see Ed mature physically until the last episode when he was in Munich, and then when he was older in the movie. Ed's definitely a little taller here. Arakawa went through the trouble of showing the gradual coming of age in mind and body in the manga, and Bones has done a good job in handling that.
Of course, Ed's still fairly short.
I thought the post-credit scene was pretty funny, though. Marcoh wants Scar to kill him, but then Scar threatens to kill him. Nice, Scar. You're threatening to kill a guy who wants you to kill him. Derp. He doesn't have to tell you anything.
But, of course, he will. And we'll learn some stuff from Riza and Doctor Knox in the next episode, too.
Another little detail I liked in this episode was that Roy's hand is still scarred from the incident with Lust. Little touches like that really lend credibility to the world the show takes place in.
My only real complaints were the art/animation in the episode, which was pretty choppy and awkward at times. They did manage to get Riza's eyes right, and they remained so, but there were scenes like the one with Greedling talking to Ed and Al which looked weird. I suppose that as long as they're saving their animation budget for later action sequences, that's fine, but I'd like a little more consistency. Bones has a reputation to live up to, and they need to do it.
I'm hoping that the next episode will be as epic as the volume of the manga it's based on.
Overall Score: 3 out of 5